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January 2010
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March 2010

WB and others appear in Frankfort

Environmentalists say they're tired of being ignored by legislature - State Government and Politics -
In one hearing room, legislators listened to report by a director of the Harvard Medical School warning that coal, from mining to moving to burning, is killing Kentuckians.

One legislator responded by noting that obesity also kills people, and wondered if food should be banned.

Then, a little while later in an adjacent room, a group of environmentalists led by author Wendell Berry said they were fed up with the General Assembly.

 "We have petitioned, marched, sung, written, lobbied, testified and pleaded — all to no avail," Berry said. "But today we declare that business as usual in Frankfort — long intolerable — has now become unacceptable." READ MORE ...

Flourish on WB's "Gift": Brown

Ed Brown on Wendell Berry's "The Gift of Good Land" — Flourish.
On being introduced to the world of Christian environmental stewardship about ten years ago, I found that I had a lot of catching up to do. Wendell Berry was one of the authors I was directed to, and he has taught and continues to teach me. Evidently, this is true of many of my colleagues as well. It is a privilege to be counted among those who have sat at Wendell’s feet and learned from him, and I am sure I am not the only one who wishes that that learning could have been in person rather than through the pages of his books.

“The Gift of Good Land” appeals to me not only for what it says, but for the method that Berry uses to discover the truths he wants to share. This is not so much an essay as a sermon, in the very best sense of the word. READ MORE ...

WB to participate in KFTC coal/health press conference

The Lexington Mayoral Race Is a MESS.

Tomorrow [presumably Thursday, 25 February] at 12:00 Noon in Room 169 of the Capitol Annex [in Frankfort, KY], the House Committee on Health and Welfare will hear testimony on the public health impacts of coal. Dr. Michael Hendryx, director of the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, is scheduled to testify about the findings of his research linking coal production to premature death and increasing rates of health conditions like heart, lung and kidney disease and birth defects. At 1:30 in Annex Room 171, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth will host a press conference with Wendell Berry and others to discuss the hostile environment that has been created in part by the state legislature. [Press Release]

NOTE CORRECTION: Frankfort is, of course, the proper capitol of Kentucky.

WB among 'earliest articulations' of food movement

A food summit brings Islanders to the table - Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber.
The food movement, they said, is both personally enriching and deeply political, an attempt to make real the notion of food security, healthful eating and community self-sufficiency.

“I see it as a quiet revolution,” said Lisovsky. “Food is political, yet also basic. It’s gratifying on every level.”

The effort to reshape the way Americans acquire and process their food has been growing for decades. Some point to a letter essayist and farmer Wendell Berry wrote nearly 40 years ago as one of the earliest articulations of this movement, when he noted that a “thoughtful and even knowledgeable constituency for a better kind of agriculture” was emerging in the United States. Unfortunately, he went on to say in a letter to two food activists, that constituency was “powerless because it has no programs.”

Since then, programs — from Seattle Tilth to farmers markets to countless classes on gardening, canning and food preparation — have given energy and life to the movement, making it a powerful force in America today. Indeed, the effort, some say, seemed to enter the mainstream last summer, when First Lady Michelle Obama announced she was planting a vegetable garden on the White House lawn; even Pres. Barack Obama, she said at the time, would help.

Now, some point to Vashon’s Food Summit as a sign of the constituency’s maturation, as food activist and Islander Mark Musick put it. Vashon’s conference, he said, “is a microcosm of a national, even international, movement.”  READ MORE ...

Considering “The Way of Ignorance”

“The Way of Ignorance” by Wendell Berry « Open Borders.
American culture is grounded in a special blend of both pragmatism and idealism, and Berry draws on the best of these competing but not irreconcilable traditions in his suggestions for a new path forward. Throughout our short history, Americans have demonstrated an uncanny ability to work within limits. We just don’t like being told to do so. In full appreciation of this delicacy in the national psyche, Berry locates an old, time-honored comfort in studying, evaluating, and dealing with the various parameters that define and qualify our various landscapes: limits to economy and growth, limits to science and technology, even limits to creative imagination and spiritual wisdom. His concern throughout is to encourage a comprehensive program that sustains a healthy human community within a fractured political system, a vulnerable environment, a distorted economy, and most importantly, an extractive relationship with the very land that feeds our prosperity. From his perch on a hillside farm in Henry Country, Kentucky, Berry proves to be one of our sagest voices for positive reconstruction. READ MORE ...

WB's "Imagination in Place" reviewed

Featured: IMAGINATION IN PLACE - Wendell Berry. [Vol 3, #6].
Berry’s newest book of essays, Imagination in Place, could be characterized as expanding the description of the ‘sympathetic mind’ as Berry has experienced it as a farmer and a writer, and even more as he has come to recognize and depend on that mind in the work and friendship of other writers. One mark of all these writers, Berry included, is that they are ‘placed,’ and not in the easy sentimentalization of ‘Place’ that seems to be floating around recently; rather, “to submit to the unending effort to change one’s mind and ways to fit one’s farm. This is a hard education, which lasts all one’s life, never to be completed” (10). This ongoing work, in which “nature [is] the inevitable mirror and measure of art” (11) is the work of imagination, as Berry will continue to make clear. READ MORE ...

WB's "Leavings" reviewed in Louisville

Book Review | ‘Leavings’ by Wendell Berry | | The Courier-Journal.
World-renowned Wendell Berry of Henry County, Ky., has published more than 50 books — collections of essays and poems, short stories and novels. But if just one of his works could serve as his literary legacy, his latest volume of poetry, Leavings , would be my choice.

It's a lovely book, physically and spiritually. Counterpoint is a small press that produces art in an artful way, and this slim, well-designed volume complements Berry's elegant, exact verse. READ MORE ...

Audio of "That Distant Land" reviewed

Brief Review: THAT DISTANT LAND (Audiobook) - Wendell Berry [Vol. 3, #6].
Wendell Berry’s stories have always had the feel of being told by a storyteller in the ancient oral tradition of storytelling. Berry has crafted, in Port William, Kentucky, a believable world in which characters share life and death together. And now, in ChristianAudio’s new audiobook release of Berry’s That Distant Land, narrator Michael Kramer tells Berry’s stories with a fabulous Kentucky drawl that makes one feel as if he is a visitor hearing the local storyteller recounting events in his own town. READ MORE ...